Have I mentioned I’m a big fan of documentaries? Well, I am. A HUGE fan. Not all kinds of documentaries though, mainly scientific and historic. (Err, is there any other kind?). So when I came across The Brain while book-browsing, with its cover stating it’s ‘now an acclaimed BBC TV Series’, it was, somewhat ironically, a no-brainer. Plus if it became a TV series, it’s probably not too neuroscience-y and English enough for a laywoman to understand.
The brain has always intrigued me. But it’s not the biology of it, but rather how the wiring and complex functions make us who we are. Our habits, our dreams, our ambitions, our fears — everything that matters is due to the kilo and a half of grey matter housed on the top floor. And it directly applies to my day-to-day work as well. As a Product Manager, a big part of my job is about how to make the product easier for my customers, how to make them engage with the product more and also about getting more out of these customers — all of which is really about tapping into the brain and appealing to it. Making a product easier is all about decreasing the cognitive load on the brain while using it — it’s the most basic UX lesson. Getting customers to engage with your product more has everything to do with how you can most effectively steal a few moments of their attention consistently, so that over time they start turning to you habitually.
The book itself is quite intriguing. The author, David Eagleman explains the complicated details of the brain so simply that it’s quite a light read. The book is strewn with multiple real-world examples of experiments done to understand how it all works — the brain’s effect on people’s lives, stories about its abilities to re-wire and re-learn, studies done to understand the depth of the brain’s abilities. A whole section is dedicated to talk about how the brain forms the most essential part of any human being — their identity — and it really makes you wonder. Intensely thought-provoking on every page, The Brain is a must-read for everybody, whether you’re a fan of non-fiction or not because it’s about something that would definitely interest you — it’s the story of You.`